Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are You Conditioning Yourself for Success? by Dora Hiers

After months of freezing temperatures and dreary drizzly days this winter, on the first warm sunny day in April, I loaded up my dog and headed for the park

With over a mile of wonderful sniffing trails and lots of grass for scratching his back, Bruiser doesn't like to miss his walks. Who could blame him? But on this day, he seemed a bit reluctant to get out of the car. Eighty five scorching degrees and thirty minutes later, we were both out of breath, exhausted, and even I was glad to reach the car and the a/c.

After hardly walking for months, we were out of condition. The long winter left us with weak lungs and stiff joints. The winter blah's.

Maybe you're experiencing the winter blah's in your writing, where days, sometimes months go by without a word ever making it onto a page. Or perhaps you're going through a winter season with your writing. Whether you're working a full time job, rearing children, or caring for an elderly parent, there just isn't any available time for consistent writing. Are you out of condition? Do you need to flex your writing muscles? 

Here are a few ideas to work out the stiff joints:

Blog. A blog is an online journal or diary where individuals or groups of users record their thoughts or opinions. People blog on anything and everything: pets, books, cooking, travel and the list goes on. In case you didn't realize it, you're reading a writing blog right now. I'm the Thursday hostess here on Seriously Write, but I also manage my personal blog, Heart Racing, God-Gracing Romance, where I post book reviews and devotionals. Blogging is fairly easy and doesn't require much technical expertise. Two popular user-friendly platforms are Blogger and WordPress. Find your passion and blog.

Plot. Practice writing a few blurbs along with skeletal plots to go with them. There's no reason why you couldn't plot several books to keep on hand until your current season passes. 

Ideas. Don't let a good idea slip by without jotting it down. Record ideas as they burn in your brain, whether that's with a paper and pen or a voice recorder or notetaker app on your smartphone, and then transfer it to a computer file later. Keep a physical file with newspaper clippings of possible story ideas.

Create a Character Portfolio. Develop characters and maintain a character portfolio. When your spring blooms, bright and sunny, your characters will be ready to hit the first page of your book.

Write Short. Several publishers, like Pelican Book Group, accept submittals for short stories. They accept romances as short as 10k words. Also, publications/magazines like Woman's World contract 800 word romances, and Flash Fiction and Splickety Magazine accept stories between 500-1k words. And did you know that Ellie's Escape, just published with Splickety in the 6/20/14 edition, was written by our very own sweet Wednesday hostess, Sandy Ardoin? Way to go, Sandy! Write short.

Whatever it is, flex your writing muscles on a daily basis and you'll soon discover that you've conditioned yourself for success.


What about you? Are you going through the winter doldrums?
What would you add to this list?

****


Purchase Link
Five years ago, Emily Mannerson escaped small town living and moved to the big city where nobody knew "poor little Emily" and her miserable background. Now an attorney, Emily longs for what she left behind…her adopted mother and high-school sweetheart. Fire captain Matthew Westerly treasures his small town of Journey Creek and values faith, family, and friendships. When he rescues Emily from a horrific car accident, he's determined to win her back and make up for the lost years. Can a big city girl and a small town boy discover their true treasure? Will they trust God to work a miracle?

Dora Hiers is a multi-published author of Heart Racing, God-Gracing romances. She’s a member of RWA, ACFW, and the Treasurer for ACFW-Charlotte Chapter. Connect with her on Seriously Write, her personal blogTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.

19 comments:

  1. Aww, Dora, thanks so much for the mention. I'm so excited to have my story in the same pages as Jerry Jenkins. :)

    I definitely need to get back in fiction-writing condition and must take your advice to carve out special time! I like the idea of having a character portfolio, too. I like to collect interesting names. Names can sometimes help spark ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better be careful. I may hold you accountable to that! :)

      I keep a list of names, too. During football, hockey, or baseball games, or whenever I see a name I like, I jot it down. Male and female, first and last, and whenever I'm ready to create a character, I have a well of names to choose from.

      Congratulations on hitting the pages with Jerry Jenkins! :)

      Delete
    2. Love this post, Dora! Great ways to stay "in shape!"

      And congratulations, Sandy! So thrilled that you're pubbed with some wonderful company! Woot!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Angie. And, Dora, you're welcome to hold me accountable. :)

      Delete
  2. Great suggestions for working through the dry spells, Dora! I've always been a strong proponent of writing short pieces to hone your skills and maybe earn a few publishing credits to pad your resume. Shorter pieces also teach you a lot about writing tight, because there's no room for extra verbiage or rabbit trails.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Myra!! Appreciate you popping in and joining the conversation! You're so right. Many people think it's easier to write short, but I find the opposite to be true. It's excruciatingly tough to whittle a full length story to a few thousand words, especially romance, and keep the story line believable.

      Oh, and super congratulations on winning Christian Retailer's Best award in the historical division for WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY! I loved WTCRB. So deserving!

      Delete
    2. Myra! I didn't know that. I loved WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY, too. What a wonderful story! Love stepping back in time and your writing put me right there! Congrats!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, ladies! It was a huge surprise, and I'm still floating on air!

      Delete
  3. Starting a new project and staring at a blank screen is always difficult for me. It can be almost paralyzing. So I sometimes procrastinate at diving in. But once I get a few paragraphs down, I get motivated and excited to keep going!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Dawn, the dreaded blank screen. I hear ya! Was staring at a blank screen not too long ago myself. You're right, though. Once a few words trickle onto the page, it's not blank anymore and the paralysis disappears. Happy writing! Oh, and I LOVE seeing your grandbaby pictures!! I bet it's next to impossible to write while that little guy's in the house. :D

      Delete
    2. I can't help but share his pics, Dora. I'm in grandma love with that little boy! I take care of him one day a week, and although I adore him and appreciate the time to bond with him - I can't get ANY writing or editing done that day! But so worth the sacrifice. ;-)

      Delete
  4. Great advice, Dora! When I've been neglectful of my writing and start back, I feel like I'm learning all over again, but if I will write consistently the words flow so much smoother. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Terri. You're so right. Consistency is key, but that's not always a reality with the frantic pace of our lives. And then guilt moves in. This way, even with little snatches of time, we can get some writing in and say good riddance to guilt! Thanks for popping in, Terri!

      Delete
    2. This is very true for me, too. Even if I'm well into a project, if I miss a few days of writing, it's so hard to get the momentum back. But if I write consistently every day, the word count usually soars!

      Delete
    3. I need to keep your word count success as motivation, Myra. I always tend to wait until I have a block of time I can designate to writing. But then other things step in: editing jobs, e-mails from clients, blogging, family needs, etc., etc. I think it would be helpful and encouraging if I could get in the habit of writing something pertaining to my current manuscript every day - even a page.

      Delete
  5. Dora a fire captain? I'm on my way...can't wait for Small Town Treasure! Well, I gotta say, about a year ago, I was worn out and emotionally spent with all things writing. I never stopped completely because I participate in several group blogs...then last August, I got invited to contribute short stories to western romance anthologies. Oh goodness me, I think I have found my current niche. Yes, I do have some full-lengths planned, but that won't be any time soon. For me, going shorter rejuvenated me.

    Thanks for all the great reminders and shots in the arm today...most of all, I love your dog!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, can you believe it? My only firefighter book...well, until BECK'S PEACE releases. Soon, I hope!
      The writing life can drain a person faster than lightning, can't it? So glad you found your niche, Tanya, and that you found your joy in writing again. :)

      Delete
  6. Dora, you really helped keep me on track. I treasure your support and friendship, Angie's too. xo

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!